S. Korean Regulators Call for Criminal Punishments for Crypto Market Manipulation

The law is unlikely to go through Parliament this year.

Nov 25, 2021 at 5:48 a.m. UTC
Updated Nov 29, 2021 at 4:07 p.m. UTC

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) wants the National Assembly to bring criminal liability to unfair behavior in crypto markets such as price manipulation and insider trading, according to a report submitted to the South Korean Parliament on Nov. 23.

  • The FSC report will be used to draft crypto legislation that will go through the Parliament. The National Assembly ordered the FSC to come up with a comprehensive draft bill on crypto in one month, but the law probably wont be ready for the last parliamentary meeting of the year on Dec. 9, CoinDesk Korea reported.
  • The FSC recommendations call for punishments relative to the gains obtained unfairly, with minimum one year in prison and fines three to five times the illicit gains. The minimum punishment for gains over KRW 5 billion ($4.2 million) is five years in prison.
  • The FSC also called for taxes on some types of non-fungible tokens, seemingly going back on earlier statements that indicated NFTs would be be exempt.
  • Seoul is set to implement a 20% tax on crypto gains over KRW 2.5 million ($2,100) starting 2022., but the ruling and opposition parties are calling for an extension to the deadline, the Korea Times reported.
  • But the FSC also wants virtual assets service providers to form an association so that they can regulate themselves and rule on any disputes.


The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.